CARACAS, Saturday December 22, 2012 | Update

Earnings in the financial system shoot up 93%

Buy of bonds, fees from Sitme and credits raise the profit

Delinquency is at historical trough (File photo)
Saturday December 22, 2012  12:00 AM
A report from the Banks Superintendence at November shows that by matching the first 11 months of this year with the same term in 2011, bank earnings leapt 93%, or about USD 3.1 billion.

The profit mostly comes from investments in public bonds, fees in US dollars from the Transaction System for Foreign Currency Securities (Sitme) and rising credits.

Immersed in a key election year, the Venezuelan government triggered public spending to levels higher than the oil income and tax collection. As a result, it sells banks bonds which yield tax-free dividends.

The Banks Superintendence reports that in a 12-month term, the bond portfolio has surged by 39.80%.

Experts estimate that President Hugo Chávez's administration will keep on getting into debt in 2013 to cope with the fiscal deficit.

Consider also the Sitme, a system through which businesses use financial institutions as middlemen to buy bonds in foreign currency from the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV). Shortly after, such bonds are resold abroad to get US dollars.

Between December 2011 and November 2012, a total amount of USD 9 billion has been traded through Sitme, and banks get fees up to 3% per operation.

The injection in public spending succeeded in enlivening the domestic economy, and the demand of credits has soared during the year.

Official numbers specify that relative to November 2011, total loans grew 50.19%.

Bad debts are at their trough. Financial institutions have troubles only to recover 99% out of their loans, a historically low ratio.

Note, further, that term deposits, with the highest interest rates, have been virtually erased, accounting for 0.5% out of deposit taking.

Translated by Conchita Delgado
Gagging Twitter users

Pablo Jiménez Guaricuco was summarily dismissed from his Clerk III job at the Autonomous Service of Public Registries and Notaries' Offices (Saren). He read a notice published in a newspaper on November 5 informing the public that he was no longer employed to the Saren. He was sacked despite the fact that he was taking a leave of absence from work due to a work-related accident, and that he enjoyed security of employment under the parental job-immunity privilege. Most probably, the decision was influenced by his role as a union organizer. But what did he do, besides leading protests, to deserve the sack? Well, he allegedly sent off a series of tweets that definitely hurt the sensitivity of the Saren Directorate.

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